News / Science & Technology

US Unveils Green Supercomputer

Argonne Unveils Green Supercomputeri
X
July 16, 2013 9:59 PM
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago is home to one of the newest, fastest, most efficient supercomputers in the country, called MIRA. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, despite the new equipment, lawmakers are concerned that the United States is losing the international supercomputing race, a field it has dominated for decades.
Kane Farabaugh
— The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago is home to one of the newest, fastest, most efficient supercomputers in the country, called MIRA.  But despite the new equipment, lawmakers are concerned that the United States is losing the international supercomputing race, a field it has dominated for decades.

Lined up in a sprawling room on the second floor of Argonne National Laboratory’s Theory and Computing Sciences building is the future of supercomputing.

Argonne Director Eric Isaacs says MIRA can go where few computers can.

“A machine like this enables us to start solving complex problems, and by complex problems, I mean problems that have many moving parts," he said. "Like a jet engine, a photovoltaic cell, like a grid, if you think about a power grid, a power grid is a very complicated thing.”

When construction and assembly of MIRA began, it was projected to be the third fastest computer on the planet, clocking in at around 10 petaflops.

“That’s 10 quadrillion operations per second.  That’s just very fast,” according to Isaacs.

But not fast enough to stay on top.

By the time U.S. Senator Dick Durbin arrived at Argonne for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to officially dedicate the newest machine on the supercomputing block, MIRA had fallen to fifth place in the global ranking of the world’s fastest computers.

“The fastest computer in the world is in China,” Isaacs said.

That computer, known as The Milky Way 2 housed in Guangzhou, is about three times the speed of Argonne’s MIRA.

“It’s also a real threat," Isaacs said.  "We’re now seeing China more often take the lead role of being the fastest or having the fastest machine in the world.”

The trend troubles Durbin, who wants the United States to remain competitive in the supercomputing race.

“There’s a competition in this world not just for jobs but for basic research that can be applied to the private sector and public sector, and the world of supercomputing is where many of those battles will be fought,” he said.

Durbin says there also are battles to be fought in the U.S. Congress, where funding for supercomputers is bogged down in the politics of deficit reduction and tighter budgets.

“They know the cost, but they don’t know the value," he said. "We really need to educate members of Congress this supercomputing competition is really key to America’s competitiveness and to a lot of breakthroughs that will benefit the whole world.”

Although MIRA is not the fastest, it does hold the distinction of being the most energy efficient.  Air around the processors inside the machine is cooled using chilled water in copper tubes instead of fans, which also reduces the amount of noise it creates.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ultra Man from: M78 Nebula
July 19, 2013 11:48 PM
We know how to create faster super computers but we don't know what to be calculated.
All super computers around the world is not working and waiting for thier job.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 16, 2013 8:59 PM
Now we know a Chinese super computer is the number one at the speed of calculation in the world. A Japanese computer has been the fastest one as well as US ones before.There once broke up an argument in Japan whether we should seek number one place eventhough developement cost is high enough to worsen government debt. I wonder if we actually need faster computer than the present one. Super computer race looks like outerspace developement race.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid